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[suhb-roo-teen] /ˈsʌb ruˌtin/
noun, Computers.
an instruction sequence in a machine or assembly language program that can be prewritten and referred to as often as needed.
Compare procedure (def 4a).
1945-50; sub- + routine Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for subroutine
  • If you examine a subroutine without the full knowledge of the context, you have no idea what has been redefined dynamically.
  • The program fortunately has no malpractice subroutine.
  • Each new link wires up a subroutine, creates a loop, and unleashes a cascade of impulses.
  • Each unit subroutine, when activated, addresses a property database for the thermodynamic properties of the working fluids.
  • To construct a program following this flow chart, each procedure could be implemented as a single subroutine.
British Dictionary definitions for subroutine


a section of a computer program that is stored only once but can be used when required at several different points in the program, thus saving space Also called procedure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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subroutine in Technology
(Or "procedure") A sequence of instructions for performing a particular task. Most programming languages, including most machine languages, allow the programmer to define subroutines. This allows the subroutine code to be called from multiple places, even from within itself (in which case it is called recursive). The programming language implementation takes care of returning control to (just after) the calling location, usually with the support of call and return instructions at machine language level.
Most languages also allow arguments to be passed to the subroutine, and one, or occasionally more, return values to be passed back.
A function is often very similar to a subroutine, the main difference being that it is called chiefly for its return value, rather than for any side effects.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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